Occupational Therapy Assistant

Department of Occupational Therapy
School of Health Professions
801B Clark Hall
Columbia, Missouri 65211
(573) 882-3988

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Occupational therapy is a health profession that uses a holistic approach to help people across the lifespan do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). There are two levels of entry into the occupational therapy profession, either as an occupational therapist (OT) or as an occupational therapy assistant (OTA). Occupational therapy assistants are skilled health professionals who provide services to individuals across the lifespan to maximize their independence in meaningful everyday activities. OTAs use research, scientific evidence, and a holistic approach to incorporate an individual’s valued occupations into the intervention process.

The mission of the Department of Occupational Therapy is to improve the health and well-being of society by assisting people to optimize their participation in everyday life occupations.

We achieve this mission through the integration of our:

  • Professional education of clinically innovative occupational therapy practitioners prepared to meet the dynamic occupational  needs of people and communities across the lifespan;
  • Steadfast commitment to service to our community and our profession;
  • Evidence-based practice; and
  • Commitment to scholarship, discovery and clinical research to advance our profession.

Accreditation and Certification

The baccalaureate-degree-level occupational therapy assistant program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is www.acoteonline.org. The program must have a preaccreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapy assistant administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), Inc. located at One Bank Street, Suite 300, Gaithersburg, MD 20878. NBCOT’s telephone number is (301) 990-7979 and its Web address is www.nbcot.org. After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Students must complete 16 weeks of Level II fieldwork as well as a baccalaureate project within 24 months following the completion of the didactic portion of the program.

Assistant Clinical Professor  G. Pifer*
Assistant Teaching Professor 
S. Allen, K. Peterson
Assistant Professor   A. Boone**, R. Proffitt**
Assistant Research Professor  W. Janes** 
Associate Clinical Professor  W. Henderson*
Associate Professor  T. Wolf**
Clinical Professor  L. Lowery**
Teaching Professor  C. Gateley**
Distinguished Professor  W. Dunn**

Occupational Therapy Assistant does not have a graduate program.  For a related degree please see the OTD in Occupational Therapy